Flash’s demise continues as Facebook adopts HTML5 video player

By Christian Zibreg on Dec 21, 2015

Following Google’s decision to stop using Adobe’s outdated Flash technology for video delivery on YouTube in favor of an HTML5-based video player, Facebook last week announced a similar move of its own.

“We recently switched to HTML5 from a Flash-based video player for all Facebook web video surfaces, including videos in News Feed, on Pages and in the Facebook embedded video player,” reads a post by Daniel Baulig on the company’s Code blog. Read More

 

How to control the Nest using HomeKit and Siri

By Jeff Benjamin on Dec 18, 2015

The Nest is one of the most popular home automation devices in existence right now, but due to incompatibility with HomeKit, iOS users can’t control their Nest Learning Thermostats using Siri.

Fortunately, a workaround has been found. It’s called Homebridge, and it’s a NodeJS server that runs on your Mac. Homebridge allows iOS devices to interface with incompatible home automation devices like the Nest using HomeKit.

This means that it is now possible to control the Nest with Apple Watch, iPhone, and iPad using Siri. No jailbreak required. Read More

 

Tim Cook says Apple tax avoidance talk is ‘total political crap’

By Cody Lee on Dec 18, 2015

60 Minutes on Friday shared a one minute clip from its upcoming interview with Apple CEO Tim Cook. In the preview, Charlie Rose asks for Cook’s thoughts regarding Apple’s congressional tax hearing, which found the company to be engaged in a “sophisticated scheme” to avoid taxes on its $74 billion held overseas.

“That is total political crap,” Cook says. “There is no truth behind it. Apple pays every tax dollar we owe.” He explains that Apple does a lot of business overseas, which is why a lot of its revenues are overseas, and although the company would like to bring that cash back to the United States, it would cost 40% to do so. Read More

 

A look at 20 recently released iOS 9 jailbreak tweaks [video]

By Jeff Benjamin on Dec 16, 2015

In this video, I showcase 20 recently released jailbreak tweaks. Some are great, some are not so great, but almost all of them are interesting.

If you’ve been lagging behind when it comes to keeping up with the latest jailbreak releases, then this new video will help bring you up to speed. Inside, I show you 20 new tweaks in just over three minutes. If you’re pressed for time, but still want to know what’s new, then give it a watch. Read More

 

Seng: even in beta, it’s the best App Switcher tweak for jailbroken iOS 9 devices [video]

By Jeff Benjamin on Dec 15, 2015

If you’re looking for an App Switcher replacement for iOS 9, then look no further than Seng, the currently in-beta Auxo-inspired tweak from developer Charlie Hewitt. We first told you about Seng’s recent beta a few days ago, but since then, I’ve been able to go hands-on with the tweak.

What I found was a tweak that worked much like the original version of Seng released back in the summer time. The big difference here is that Seng now plays nice with iOS 9, a feat that’s likely harder than it looks given the state of Auxo 3. Read More

 

How to add Mario-inspired notification sounds to iOS

By Jeff Benjamin on Dec 12, 2015

If you’re rocking a jailbroken iPhone and you like Mario, then a newly released jailbreak tweak is sure to be right up your alley. 1UP is a brand new tweak that alters the sound of Message notifications to that of the classic Mario coin sound found in Nintendo’s storied gaming franchise.

The real treat of the tweak, and the inspiration behind the name, comes from when you reach a preset threshold of notifications. By default, once you receive 10 notifications for the Messages app, you’ll hear the special “1UP” sound instead of the typical coin notification.

1UP is a great tweak to have if your heart strings are easily pulled by video game nostalgia. Best of all, it’s available free of charge on Cydia’ ModMyi repo. Read More

 

How to control your Mac with the Siri Remote

By Jeff Benjamin on Dec 12, 2015

Better Touch Tool, one of the most useful power-user utilities available for OS X, has been updated to include support for Siri Remote control. The update, which is currently available as an alpha version download, lets you control your mouse with the Siri Remote, as well as assign shortcuts and mouse clicks to the Touch Surface and each of the remote’s buttons. Read More

 

How to jump directly to a specific folder with Activator

By Jeff Benjamin on Dec 12, 2015

FolderJumper is a new jailbreak tweak that lets your instantly access a SpringBoard folder by using an Activator gesture. If you have groups of specific apps placed within a folder that you frequently access, then FolderJumper, a $1.99 tweak available on Cydia’s BigBoss repo, can make accessing those apps easier. Read More

 

Lightning to SD Card Camera Reader review: USB 3.0 brings faster file transfer to iPad Pro

By Jeff Benjamin on Dec 11, 2015

Of all the products that I’ve reviewed as of late, this is one of the ones I’ve been most excited for. Since getting the iPad Pro and trying to establish a video editing workflow with the extra large tablet, I’ve run into a few bottlenecks. The most obvious bottleneck has to do with transferring video from an SD Card to the iPad Pro’s flash storage.

All of the dongles that I had available were of the USB 2.0 variety, so transfer speeds were horrendously slow when trying to get 4K video files from my Panasonic GH4 to my iPad Pro.

Fortunately, the iPad Pro does support USB 3.0, which results in a much faster file transfer experience—it was just a matter of Apple releasing an accessory that supported the extra throughput. The first accessory to do so is Apple’s just-launched update to its Lightning to SD Card  Reader. The dongle looks very much like the previous version of the reader that debuted in 2012, but the Late 2015 update has USB 3.0 support in tow.

How is the experience when transferring large files to the iPad Pro with this new reader? Should those of you invested in a video or photo workflow consider dropping the $29.00 asking price for the updated version? Read More

 

How to dim iPhone screen brightness levels below the normal threshold without jailbreaking

By Jeff Benjamin on Dec 11, 2015

We’ve all been there before. It’s late, and it’s dark, but you still have to get a few more things to get done. You set your iPhone’s screen to its lowest possible brightness via Control Center, and you quickly realize that even at the lowest setting, the screen is way too bright for your eyes in such a dark environment.

What can you do in a situation like this? You could jailbreak and install a jailbreak tweak like Dim, but that’s not always an option, nor is it always desirable.

Fortunately, there is a way to quickly adjust screen brightness levels even lower than what’s possible via Control Center’s brightness slider. By leveraging some of iOS’ built-in accessibility features, you can set your iPhone’s screen brightness levels much lower than you think. Read More

 

‘Flash’ automatically displays a Lock screen flashlight shortcut when in a dark environment

By Jeff Benjamin on Dec 10, 2015

From time to time I’ve been known to question the idea of jailbreaking my iOS device. I tend to waffle back in forth between loving it and being a little ho-hum on the idea.

Make no mistake, I’ll likely always be a jailbreaker as long as its possible, but using a jailbreak on my daily driver is something different altogether. Right now, my jailbreak has been relegated to my iPhone 6 Plus, my test device; but tweaks like Flash make me wish I still had Cydia on my main device.

Flash is a clever jailbreak tweak that presents a flashlight shortcut on your Lock screen when the iPhone’s Ambient Light Sensor detects you’re in a dark environment. Watch our video inside to see it in action. Read More

 

iPhone 6s Smart Battery Case review: smarter than you think

By Jeff Benjamin on Dec 8, 2015

I’ll be the first to admit that my initial knee-jerk reaction to the iPhone 6s Smart Battery Case wasn’t good. The peripheral, which was basically the butt of jokes all morning on Twitter, seemingly came out of nowhere to the feigned horror of many.

You’d be hard-pressed to identify another company whose products are subject to such intense scrutiny like Apple. Even when you have a low key release like the Smart Battery Case, it’s bound to make a splashy first impression for better or for worse.

The good news is that the $99 iPhone 6s Smart Battery Case isn’t half as bad as it looks. In fact, after a few hours of usage, I can say that I kind of like it.

Is the design peculiar? Indeed. Is it weird that Apple is jumping into the battery case game? Sort of. But overall, this is a product that I think many will like if they only give it a chance. Read More

 

iOS 9.2 lets you import photos and videos directly to iPhone via USB

By Jeff Benjamin on Dec 8, 2015

The just released iOS 9.2 brings with it something that iPhone users have been wanting for quite some time now: the ability to import photos directly from a USB source via Apple’s USB Camera Adapter. Data transfer is still going to operate at USB 2.0 speeds, but having the option to work on videos and photos shot on traditional cameras is a nice new perk for iPhone users. Read More

 

Review: the Shure MV5 is a versatile Lightning-enabled microphone for the iPad, iPhone and Mac

By Jeff Benjamin on Dec 4, 2015

Since the iPad Pro debuted, I’ve been a little obsessed with trying to find the right microphone for recording on the go. I’ve tried a handful of microphones thus far in an effort to find a good balance of portability, ease of use, and sound quality.

The Blue Spark Digital is a very good microphone for general purpose use, but when it comes to portability and versatility, there are other microphones that I wish to check out.

The Shure MV5 ($99 on Amazon) is a super-portable digital condenser microphone with a low profile, lots of options, and sound quality that’s good enough. It’s a much smaller package and setup when compared with the Blue Spark Digital, and a good choice for podcasting, Skype calls, and more. Read More

 

Auxo Legacy Edition gains support for iOS 9

By Jeff Benjamin on Nov 30, 2015

Good news for those of you who are fans of Auxo—Auxo Legacy Edition, the jailbreak tweak created via a collaboration of Ryan Petrich and Sentry, has been updated for iOS 9. As you might remember, Auxo LE was a release that was built in the image of the original version of Auxo, which was a legendary jailbreak tweak that brought a new multitasking interface to iOS.

No new features can be expected with this latest update, but if you’re running an iOS 9 jailbreak, you’ll be happy to hear that Auxo LE should play nice with your jailbroken iPhone. Read More

 

NCCards: customize Notification Center notifications

By Jeff Benjamin on Nov 29, 2015

NCCards is a recently released jailbreak tweak that ushers in a new interface for the notifications shown in Notification Center. The $2.99 tweak, now available on the BigBoss repo, brings new visual cues to notifications, but retains much of the functionality that iOS users are familiar with.

Testing out NCCards reveals a promising feature-set with a few notable miscues. Watch our video walkthrough to see the tweak in action. Read More

 

Amazon allegedly confirms that Instant Video is hitting Apple TV before year-end

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 28, 2015

Online retail giant Amazon is bringing its Instant Video service to the new Apple TV after all. As a quick refresher, Amazon recently pulled both Google’s Chromecast HDMI dongle and Apple’s Apple TV from sale because the two set-top boxes, in Amazon’s own words, don’t “interact well” with its video subscription service. Confirmation of a tvOS version of Instant Video was inadvertently leaked by Amazon itself in response to a question on Twitter.

The app should hit the Apple TV App Store by the end of the year. Read More

 

Nightmode9: a tweak that brings a system-wide dark mode to iOS 9

By Jeff Benjamin on Nov 27, 2015

Using a bright screen in a dark environment isn’t doing any favor to your eyes, and that’s why some apps incorporate a so-called night-mode for dark settings. But night mode features within apps have a big limitation, and that’s that they only work within specific apps.

Wouldn’t it be better if iOS had a true system-wide night mode that worked in apps as well as the iOS interface as a whole? That’s the basic idea behind Nightmode9, a recently released jailbreak tweak that adds tons of user-configurable night mode features to iOS 9. Read More

 

How to save Vine videos

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 25, 2015

Who knew 6-second-long looping video clips would turn out to be so much fun? If you’re into short-form entertainment, there’s probably no better place to get your daily fix of user-posted clips, some of which are quite interesting—I’ve seen whole how-tos compressed into six seconds—than Vine.

The problem is, both Vine the website and mobile app prohibit you from saving your favorite clips to your computer or mobile device. Thankfully, there are apps for that, too.

In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to save Vine videos to your iPhone, iPod touch, iPad or Mac using a nifty little utility and a free of charge web app. Read More

 

Vine rolls out Apple Watch app and new ways to discover and watch videos

By Christian Zibreg on Nov 24, 2015

Twitter-owned Vine, a short-form video sharing service, is now available on the Apple Watch with a native watchOS 2 app that streams best videos from Featured and Favorites sections to your wrist.

A Vine complication is available as well so you can track your account’s loops and access the native app from your watch face. In addition to the Apple Watch app, this edition of Vine includes features that make it easier to make and discover audio remixes on the service and more. Read More